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Film Details

Directed by: David Yates

Produced: 2007

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

Blu-ray Details

Certificate: 12

Studio: Warner Home Video

Length: 138 mins

Format: Blu-ray

Released: 15 June 2009

Cat No: 1000106933

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Cast: Robert Hardy , Maggie Smith , Robbie Coltrane , Julie Walters , Alan Rickman , Emma Thompson , Michael Gambon , Gary Oldman , Ralph Fiennes , Brendan Gleeson , Imelda Staunton , Daniel Radcliffe , Rupert Grint , Emma Watson , Jason Isaacs , Helena Bonham Carter , Tom Felton

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The fifth instalment of the hugely popular ’Harry Potter’ franchise. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returns for his fifth year of study at... Read More

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The fifth instalment of the hugely popular ’Harry Potter’ franchise. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returns for his fifth year of study at Hogwarts and discovers that much of the wizarding community has been denied the truth about his recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Fearing that Hogwarts’ venerable Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), is lying about Voldemort’s return in order to undermine his power and take his job, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy), appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to keep watch over Dumbledore and the Hogwarts students. But Professor Dolores Umbridge’s (Imelda Staunton) Ministry-approved course of defensive magic leaves the young wizards woefully unprepared to defend themselves against the dark forces threatening them and the entire wizarding community. So, at the prompting of his friends Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), Harry takes matters into his own hands. Meeting secretly with a small group of students who name themselves ’Dumbledore’s Army’, Harry teaches them how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts, preparing the courageous young wizards for the extraordinary battle that lies ahead.

In the latest Harry Potter film, the darkest so far, the young wizard finds himself the object of ridicule as nobody believes his account of how Lord Voldemort has ascended. The Ministry of Magic steps in, and soon bureaucracy and authoritarianism start to take hold at Hogwarts, as Harry’s visions of the Dark Lord become ever more threatening.

The diverse range of directors who have worked on the Harry Potter films is one of the most intriguing aspects of the franchise, with Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mama Tambien), Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and now David Yates all turning to the fantasy genre after years making very different work. Yates is best known for his marvellous thriller series State of Play, and his expertise at handling tension makes this one of the stronger films in the series. The film opens with a genuinely chilling dementor attack, and concludes with a spectacular magic battle at the Ministry of Magic, in which the death of a major character is shocking in its unexpectedness. The film moves at an exhilarating pace, effortlessly condensing the longest books in the canon (some 870 pages) into the shortest film thus far.

As always the supporting characters provide much of the fun, and Imelda Staunton delivers a marvellous performance as the insufferable Dolores Umbridge, a slimy harridan with a penchant for kittens and pink smocks. Beneath her smarmy exterior there lurks a heart of ice, however, as Harry finds to his cost during a particularly nasty detention. Helena Bonham Carter also steals scenes as the evil Bellatrix Lestrange, who becomes progressively malevolent as the books continue. Daniel Radcliffe, so unsure in the first film, has now developed into the role, and is a sympathetic, strong protagonist (his training for the lead in Equus clearly paid off), who gets his first screen kiss in one of the more touching scenes. With super performances, jaw-dropping special effects and a welcome sheen of menace darkening the action, this is excellent family viewing, and it will be fascinating to see what Yates makes of the next film of the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

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